Who I Am: A Bio of Mr. Thomas
I was born the youngest of three children in Farmington Hills, Michigan where I lived until leaving for my first “real job” here in Temperance, but that’s much later in the story. My early days were spent playing baseball, football and hockey in the back yard, depending on the season (probably fostering my love for all sports). One Thanksgiving Day (after our annual “Turkey Bowl” game) my aunt brought over a violin and gave me my first lesson in the kitchen (I have a picture of this event hanging in my junior high office). I began regular lessons shortly afterward and performed in my first recital at age 7. My biggest regret is not continuing lessons or taking part in more solo and ensemble festivals in the junior and senior years. I continued to play and lead in the orchestra through all of my school years, even though I first had the desire to play trombone in the elementary school band! Some of my fondest memories in school were in those orchestra classes, concerts and tours. I had wonderful teachers who loved their jobs and showed me you can combine what you love with a career. I made great friends in music, many whom I still am in contact with. I knew I would go into teaching so I enrolled at Eastern Michigan University as a history major and a music minor. I immediately introduced myself to the orchestra director and enrolled in the orchestra, even receiving a monetary stipend. After one year I knew music was something I wanted to make a career of. I added music as a major, along with history. The department head told me I could not have two majors at the same time, but I did it anyway, taking 19 and 21 credit hours per semester (12 is full-time) along with spring and summer classes so I could still graduate on time. After my audition to be a music major, I was told I would b eon “probation” since my violin skills were not up to entry standards (I should have continued those lessons!) With hard work I made it through in five years, passing the teaching exam with flying colors. After student teaching in the Chelsea Public Schools, I graduated. While student teaching I met Dr. Bob Culver, head of the graduate program at the University of Michigan, who told me about a job opening in Bedford. I called and sent in my resume but heard nothing. Immediately I enrolled at the University of Michigan for graduate school (another goal of mine). While at a summer session (a literal sun-up to sun-down ordeal) I saw on the job board that Bedford was interviewing for a teaching job. I interviewed and received the job a day later, keeping me from flying to Arizona for another job interview. How things could have been different! After four grueling summers I had a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan while I began my teaching career.
Outside of teaching I enjoy time with my family which consists of my wife, seven children and one grandchild. We live on a five-acre farm with all sorts of animals and a pond. I am actively involved in my church, am a licensed Michigan real estate agent, and enjoy running and reading.